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Do you like my beard? The influence of applicant’s beard length in German and Dutch recruiting processes

Gießler, Bruno (2018) Do you like my beard? The influence of applicant’s beard length in German and Dutch recruiting processes.

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Abstract:BACKGROUND. Different beard lengths and styles have regularly cycled in and out of fashion in the last centuries. Lately, especially long beards experienced a comeback in society, but does this also apply for the work environment? Previous research concerning facial hair focused mainly on the attractiveness of beards to women under different circumstances. Little research addressed the actual reaction of recruiters when faced with a bearded applicant. AIM. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of applicant’s beard length on human resources personnel’s perception of the applicant during the recruiting process for customer service related jobs in Germany and the Netherlands. METHOD. A quantitative field experiment with a 4 (clean shaven, short beard, medium beard, full beard) x 2 (Germany, Netherlands) experimental design was used. A total of 496 recruiters located in all parts of the Netherlands and Germany received an email in their native language including a short motivational letter, several questions concerning general information about the company and a photograph of the applicant. Every condition was represented by two variants of photographs which resulted in a total of eight photographs for the four conditions. Every recruiter received only one randomly assigned photograph from the total pool of eight photographs. RESULTS. The findings of this study indicate that the amount of facial hair had an influence on the response of the recruiters. Overall, recruiters responded more positively to the extreme conditions of facial hair (clean-shaven and long beard) than to both conditions that lay in-between (short bead and medium beard). Applicants with a medium beard received the most negative responses from both male and female recruiters and German recruiters provided more general information than their Dutch colleagues. These findings imply that the amount of facial hair has an influence on the recruiting process in Germany and the Netherlands. CONCLUSION. Long beards seemed to have the opposite effect than expected and were rated more positively than shorter beards. This could indicate that long beards have found their way into the corporate world as an expression of individualism.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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